I do not own the rights to Disney. Contains spoilers for Frozen.
Let me start off by saying this took way longer than I anticipated in getting up. When I first started, the chapter started going in a different direction than what I planned on. Disney tends to skip straight from the climax with the villain to the happy ending, never taking time to focus on how the heroes deal with their actions in the climax. For instance, does Jasmine ever wake up from nightmares about drowning in sand? Does Rapunzel, who had an entire scene based on experiencing guilt for leaving her tower, ever feel guilt for leading to the demise of the mother figure who she had known for her entire life? Disney never addresses these questions, but I started wondering how Gretel would deal considering she's led a relatively calm life. That part is in this chapter, just not as long as it started. The other reason for the later update is I bought a house. I spent July cleaning, moving, painting, and other house related stuff leaving little time to write. You've waited long enough, please enjoy the last chapter of A Baker's Dozen.
Hansel and Gretel
"...Then all anxiety was at an end, and they lived together in perfect happiness. My tale is done, there runs a mouse; whosoever catches it, may make himself a big fur cap out of it. The End."
Hansel looked up at Jakob and asked, "I don't get it, why are we children?"
"And what's with the last line?" added Gretel.
"Well," explained Jakob, "people respond better to innocent children in danger rather than a former prince who once tried to commit regicide. As for the line, I thought it sounded a bit folksy. It's just poetic license, that's all," he said with a wave of his hand. "Besides, it's not like you two were that forthcoming with the details," he muttered quietly under his breath.
Hansel's response was a snort, while Gretel just rolled her eyes. While Jakob had been traveling abroad, he had also been collecting stories. Some of which were familiar to Gretel- the princess who had been a maid but had a fairy godmother and wore glass slippers to a ball where she met a prince; and stories that weren't so familiar such as the new Sultan of Agrabah being a former street rat until he met a genie. Then there was Queen's Rapunzel's story, along with Queen Elsa's, and now Hansel's and Gretel's.
"Isn't he just brilliant?" sighed a petite blonde who was seated next to Jakob at the table. In addition to finding stories while traveling abroad, Jakob had also found a wife. Christina was from a seaside kingdom that was between Corona and Arendelle, and that supposedly had a former mermaid as its queen. Gretel was unsure how truthful that claim was, but she couldn't deny that Christina was the perfect wife for Jakob. Supportive, a thirst for adventures, and she ate up everything he said- everything that Gretel never was nor wanted to be.
Sensing that his new bride had her fill of Jakob and his bride, Hansel grabbed Gretel by the arm and directed her to another table nearby where some of her cousins were seated. "Thanks for the book Jakob, I'm sure Gretel and I will read it often." The lie left Hansel's lips rather easily, but it was more polite than the truth. Telling Jakob that the copy of Grimm's Fairy Tales he and Will had given Gretel and Hansel as a wedding present was most likely going to be collecting dust on a shelf was a bit cruel. Hansel had flipped through the book and skimmed the stories, including his own. They were all a bit darker and different than the actual tales they were supposedly based on due to Jakob's 'poetic license'. Hansel would much rather live in the present than the past which was filled with darkness.
Especially a few months ago when he thought he was going to die. Trapped in the witch's house with smoke filling the room making each breath even more difficult to take and Gretel and Teddy by his side. Things had seemed so hopeless then. He had been so sure that it was the end for all three of them, especially when everything went black.
What happened after he passed out, he had no recollection of. He only knew what Gretchen, Reuben, Marten, will and the others had told him once he woke up. To his surprise not only was he alive, but he was in the infirmary in the Coronian palace with Gretel in a bed next to his and Teddy dozing contently next to her. There was a slight breeze coming in through the open windows with the curtains drawn in a such a way that it allowed the sunlight in, but not too much that the brightness overwhelmed his eyes.
The whole scene was so surreal Hansel had been sure that he was dead and in some sort of afterlife. Until a nurse had come him and assured him that he was very much alive and well in the infirmary in the Coronian palace. He, Gretel, and even Teddy were being treated for smoke inhalation, slight burns, and in Teddy's case a few broken bones. All were expected to make a full recovery- all of it due to one person.
After Gretel had left with Teddy, Will had reunited the princess with her parents and explained what had happened. Before a course of action could be decided upon, smoke started to fill the woods and the sky. Determined to find the source and prevent the fire from spreading through the woods, the group tracked it to the witch's house. Those who had grown up in Corona and knew the Tale of the Three Sisters recognized what it was. Fearing that there were people inside and the fire could spread, Elsa used her magic to shoot ice into the heart of the fire. The ice merely evaporated due to the intense heat at first, but after a while it started to run out of energy and cool down enough for Elsa to put out the fire completely.
The group started to pick their way through the rubble taking care to avoid any hot spots. That was how they found Hansel, Gretel, and Teddy- all miraculously still alive. If it hadn't been for Elsa's magic, the three would have died. The house's location in the woods made it near impossible for water to be brought in to extinguish the flames. Part of Hansel wondered if Elsa had known who was in the house if she would have worked as hard to put out the blaze- he hoped she would have for Gretel's and Teddy's sakes, but couldn't exactly begrudge her if she wouldn't have.
Initially, those who hadn't grown up with the story had dismissed it. A witch who lured people away to eat them in order to stave off death? Impossible. Surely, the crazy former prince was responsible for whatever was going on. Then they had started to go through the wreckage and found bones. Behind the house the witch had buried the remains of her dinner in several large pits. Skulls, leg bones, arm bones, and all the other bones that made up a human skeleton were found. There were a variety of sizes, but the majority were small, as if they had belonged to a child. There were so many of them, and it was hard to tell how many innocent lives the witch had taken over the years due to the haphazard way the bones were thrown in. The pits were so deep that after a while the group had given up trying to get to the bottom of them. Instead, they hauled the wreckage of the cottage away, did their best to cover the bones back up and create a makeshift memorial for all the nameless lost souls.
Those who had refused to believe the story at first and were quick to blame Hansel had become silent when the gruesome nature of the house was revealed. While they still needed to wait for Hansel and Gretel to wake up and give their version of events, it was clear that the two were most likely victims. Wanting to ensure the three got the best treatment possible, and as thanks for saving the princess if that turned to be the case (or make it harder for Hansel to escape if that was the case) they were all brought to the infirmary at the palace. Due to the former queen's illness years ago, the former king had made sure that the palace was equipped with the foremost healthcare experts, something the new king and queen had kept around as well. It had been rather handy for the new queen who had spent the first eighteen years of her life without so much as a cold due to her magical healing hair. With it gone, she was prone to overreacting to the slightest hint of any illness, afraid that it was something severe or what had nearly taken her mother's life and hers all those years ago.
Soon after waking up, he and Gretel had to give official statements regarding what had transpired in the woods. First to a royal party consisting of the former and current kings and queens of Corona, Queen Elsa, and Prince Marten along with half a dozen royal guards, and then to all of the Burgs. It was a rather exhausting couple of days so by the time he and Gretel were cleared to return to the bakery he was grateful.
That feeling disappeared upon his first day back to work. The bakery always had a good sized crowd, but once it was apparent that Hansel and Gretel were back at work, people were standing in lines outside in order to get in. So much had happened to the Burgs in such a short time, most people didn't know what to believe. Some had witnessed the proposal and Hansel's true identity being revealed, but many others heard it secondhand and wanted to confirm the wild story their friends and family members were telling them. Then there was the other wild story that nobody had truly witnessed, and only had bits and pieces from the staff at the palace or the few details the Burgs had released publicly. For several days, Hansel's and Gretel's interactions with the customers revolved around being congratulated for getting engaged, questioned on whether or not Hansel was really a prince, and if they really had faced down the terrifying middle sister in the woods and saved the young princess.
After a day or so, Hansel took to staying in the back of the bakery with Gretel, while the other Burgs took turns waiting on customers and answering their questions. Gretchen and Reuben never asked if the couple wanted help dealing with their new found fame, for which Hansel was grateful. They treated the two like the only important thing that had occurred was their engagement, nothing else. They also kept the younger Burgs at bay, shushing them whenever they started running their mouths and wanting to know what really happened for the umpteenth time. Recounting their escapade was hard enough the first time, and had gotten harder with each retelling, especially given the sensitive nature of certain parts. There were certain things nobody should ever have to hear, let alone little girls. He found the best way to get them off the topic was to distract them by asking them to tend to Teddy.
Teddy had taken the longest out of the trio to recover from his injuries, since he had been injured the worse. Having a cast and being bedridden for several weeks wasn't something he was fond of, but the attention he received made it bearable. The cat ate up every stroke, every bit of praise people would give him, telling him what a brave cat he was. He deserved all of it, of course. Hansel still couldn't help but feel guilty that due to his bullheadedness Teddy would forever be left with a limp in his back leg, an effect of being thrown into a wall. Reuben had taken to calling it his 'war wound', something to show off as a souvenir from battle. The comment usually made Gretel grimace. While, he felt guilt over Teddy's fate, she still felt guilt over the witch's. Despite being nearly killed and eaten, Gretel's conscience still bothered her. She was a baker, not a soldier. Unlike Teddy, her wounds were mental, not physical.
During those moments, when she would get a far off look, he'd simply grab her hand and pull her close to him. The two would stand still wrapped in each other's embrace for a few moments and everything would be right with the world and they would go about their day as if nothing had happened.
Until one day, shortly after returning to the bakery, something did happen. At least, something that was out of the ordinary for the bakery. Due to the higher than average foot traffic at the bakery, the kitchen was having a hard time keeping up with all the demand. They had run out of eggs earlier that morning, so Hansel had been sent to the market to buy some more. Gretel was in the kitchen helping her sisters wash and dry the dishes so they would be ready to go when Hansel returned with the eggs.
A small rap on the back door interrupted the neat and efficient line they had going. Gretel was washing the dishes, Lisa was drying them, and Tilly and Cara put them away while Mia looked after Teddy. Gertrude supervised the sisters next to the back door, and raised her head slightly at the knock.
"Mia, can you get the door? If it's Will, tell him Becca's in the front," ordered Gretel, who was too busy with washing one of the large mixing bowls to see who was at the door.
Mia nodded, and opened the back door with one hand with her other securely wrapped around Teddy who was snug in her arms. The opened door revealed a slender feminine figure who was most certainly, not Will. Her teal dress indicated she was rather well off, not just another villager. She had a matching teal scarf wrapped around her head which concealed her identity. Teddy however, nearly leapt out of Mia's arms and would have if it hadn't been for his healing injuries and Mia's tight grip.
"Is Hans-I mean- Hansel here?" asked the stranger in a quiet voice.
Shaking her head, Mia replied, "He's out to get eggs, but he should be back soon."
"Oh," said the stranger quietly, unsure of what else to do.
Gretel passed her last pan to Lisa to dry and wiped her hands on her towel. Putting a hand gently on Mia's shoulder she said, "Why don't you see if Teddy would like some fresh milk?"
Mia left obediently, though Gretel could feel Teddy shooting her a dirty look behind her back. She knew it was for the best- she didn't know what Teddy's deal with the stranger was, but Gretel wasn't about to let him injure himself even worse.
"Hansel's out, but is there anything I could do for you?" asked Gretel with one hand on her hip, trying her best to be as intimidating as possible. If this stranger was enough to put Teddy on guard, than so should Gretel. Gertrude wasn't that bothered, but she was getting on in years.
The stranger removed the scarf which had been hiding her face, which was rather recognizable once Gretel could see it. Gretel let out a slight gasp and immediately dropped down into a curtsy. "Your majesty."
"No, please don't," protested Queen Elsa, "that's really not necessary. I just came to see Hansel."
Gretel tilted her head to the side. "Why? Sorry your majesty, but I fail to see what further business you have with him. While I do appreciate you saving us, you made your feelings abundantly clear that night in the square." When Gretel was done, she took a moment to reflect on her words. She had expressed her thanks and acted politely, while making it clear that the sooner the queen left, the better. After everything Hansel had been through, Gretel was determined to protect him from further harm.
To her credit, the queen did blush. "I will admit, that wasn't my finest moment. I was just afraid it was another one of his schemes, and he'd hurt you like he hurt my sister." Elsa glanced bashfully down at her hands. "After his actions in the woods, I've been forced to reconsider my opinion of him. I'm returning to Arendelle tomorrow and wanted a chance to say goodbye and wish him luck." She paused, and looked back up at Gretel, holding her gaze. "From what I can tell, he really seems to care about you."
A part of Gretel wanted to inquire why Elsa hadn't visited them in the palace, or what happened to leaving the day after the coronation, but she held her tongue, reminding herself to behave civilly. If Mama found out she smart-mouthed a queen, her ears would be ringing for days. She had already come pretty close to crossing the line earlier, but Gretel had no intention of getting to the other side.
So she took a deep breath and said in as polite of tone as she could manage, "I'll be sure to pass on your well wishes your majesty. Now is there anything else?"
The queen shook her head and replied, "I suppose not, and am sorry for taking up your time."
As she turned to leave, Gretel felt something twinge inside her. The queen did seem to want to make amends with Hansel, something which Gretel should encourage rather discourage. "Wait," cried out Gretel, her right hand stretched out in the queen's direction, "if you're not too busy, perhaps you'd like to stay for dinner?"
A small smile formed on the queen's face, and unbeknownst to Gretel, her sisters' faces as well who had been eavesdropping on the conversation. "I'd like that very much," was the queen's polite reply.
When Hansel returned with the eggs, he was greeted with a peculiar sight. The kitchen was empty, and the store was closed. Hansel knew he had been gone for a quite a well, having been constantly stopped and talked to by various villagers, in addition having to haggle down the price of eggs to a more respectable price. The merchant had figured since Hansel had once been a prince, he surely could afford to pay triple the rate. It took Marten stopping by and explaining that being banished from the Southern Isles meant Hansel no longer received any money from the country, he had to rely solely on the Burg Family Bakery for income. The merchant still scoffed, but finally relented once Marten threatened to inform their majesties of the harassment his brother was receiving.
It wasn't exactly luck that Hansel had run into his brother. Marten explained that initially the Arendelle delegation was supposed to leave the day after Hansel's and Gretel's run in with the witch. However, their plans had then been postponed to the next day. Marten was worried about Hansel, and he and the other delegates wanted to know what happened in the woods, in case Hansel had been up to his old tricks. Elsa had declared the safety of Arendelle could be at stake if Hansel had returned to his old ways. Marten had visited Hansel and Gretel while in the infirmary, but had kept those details to himself, not wanting to upset Hansel and impede his recovery. Since the Arendelle delegation was supposed to leave tomorrow, Marten naturally had several matters to discuss with the queen before they left. Unfortunately, nobody at the palace had seen her since the midday meal, though she had informed her maid she'd be visiting the village for the rest of the day.
Hansel helped Marten search for Elsa in the village, which lengthened what was supposed to be a short errand even more. When it became clear Elsa was nowhere to be found, Hansel invited Marten back to the bakery for dinner, only to discover the peculiar sight of Hansel's fiancee and the Burg family dining with the Queen of Arendelle and sister to Hansel's ex-fiancee and attempted murder victim, and savior of Hansel and Gretel.
Considering all that he had been through, Hansel wasn't as surprised as he once would have been. Instead, he just sighed and put the eggs away in the icebox, and got additional chairs for him and Marten to join the table.
While the dinner in itself had been rather strange, it had gone rather well. So well, that the Burgs were willing to join Hansel at the docks the next day to see Marten and Elsa off. Queen Rapunzel and King Eugene were there too with Princess Aurora. Both gave polite nods and smiles to the Burgs while the princess seemed to remember Hansel and kept waving at him. To Gretel's amusement, he would wave back every time as if it was the first which sent the princess into a fit of giggles.
The next few weeks were a blur of activity afterwards since there was still the wedding to plan. The date was set for the middle of September- right before the chill of winter would begin setting in, but right after the leaves had started turning colors. Hansel had always liked that time of the year since all the leaves seemed to match Gretel's auburn hair which set it off rather nicely. Incredibly, the same dressmaker who designed Queen Rapunzel's wedding dress offered to design Gretel's dress along with the bridesmaids, and even let Tilly help. The dressmaker wasn't the only incredible thing about the wedding. Due to all those who wanted to attend, the only place large enough to hold it and the reception was the palace. Food was to be provided by the palace chefs (with the bread coming from the bakery, Gretchen and Reuben weren't going to let their daughter have anything less than authentic Burg bread at her wedding) , music by the palace musicians, and decorative lights by Lumiere's.
It was all too incredible to swallow really. Though during the weeks of planning, Hansel and Gretel had managed to piece together how their incredible wedding came together. Tilly overheard gossip at the dressmaker's shop that the dressmaker believed the wedding was to be the wedding of the year considering who was getting married- the disgrace prince of the Southern Isles turned hero of Corona and one of the well-known Burg daughters turned hero of Corona.
As for the rest of the incredible wedding preparations, some was in part due to the royal family's gratitude for saving the princess and ridding the realm of the witch. There had never been any official reward or award given for their service, which was what Hansel and Gretel wanted- leaving the royal family to offer thanks in more creative, yet subtle ways.
Hansel had to admit it was worth it though. Gretel looked amazing. The white sleeves came down to her elbows, the perfect length for the fall weather. Tilly's handiwork covered the dress in fine gold embroidery making up leaves and flowers in such a way that they seemed to be moving with the wind every time Gretel took a step. While Gretel preferred the plain look, Tilly and the dressmaker had promised the stitch-work would look elegant and classy, not ostentatious- which turned out to be true. Gretel's veil was nowhere as long as the queen's had been, stopping at her back midway, but it shared the same embroidery as the dress. Her sisters had braided her hair into a single braid, which was actually made up of several smaller braids which joined together, as well as braiding in flowers. They had also made her a crown of flowers for the veil to rest on, taking care so none of the flowers would be smashed.
While the bride's dress was usually fussed over more, some attention was given to Hansel's suit and even Teddy. Hansel wore a smart looking white suit which had the same designs as Gretel's dress. Teddy meanwhile had a small white bow around his neck with the same golden designs on a smaller scale.
Perhaps the most incredible part of all was the wedding present Marten, Elsa, and even his brother Ferdinand and sister-in-law Snow White had sent- money for Hansel and Gretel to buy their first place. Normally when a bride married in Corona she moved into her husband's house. Except, Hansel was living in a small bedroom off of the kitchen which did not have the adequate room needed for newly married couple. Hansel knew that Gretchen and Reuben would have offered to help them, but didn't want them to spend their hard earned money on him, considering everything else they had given him. He had planned to go to one of the local banks for a loan, planning on spending the next several decades paying it off. The wedding present took care of it though. They managed to find a spacious house that was just a block over from the bakery that even had a garden in the back for Gretel to grow flowers. There was enough money left over to buy furniture to fill the house with. Hansel was too proud to take money from the Burgs, but he had no qualms about taking it from his own family if they offered. There was still a part of him that resented how he was treated during his childhood and if his brothers wanted to make amends by ensuring that he had a place to house his new wife, who was he to argue?
Gretel didn't say much when the present arrived, she was more in shock. She knew that Hansel had been a prince, but it was one thing to know and another to see proof of it. Proof which came in a rather large chest full of more coins than Gretel had ever seen in her entire life at once. She, and even the rest of the Burgs were glad when it was gone, having been spent on their new home.
She had equally mixed feelings about the other part of the present- an offer to travel to Ferdinand's and Snow White's kingdom for their honeymoon. Gretel had never been outside of Corona, and had never wished to travel abroad, having turned down Jakob's offer on numerous occasions. To Hansel's surprise, she eventually agreed to go. He was perfectly fine with never stepping outside of Corona again as long as he had Gretel. She insisted that he seemed happier and more relaxed due to his renewed relationship with Marten, so surely renewing his relationship with Ferdinand could only do him good as well. Hansel knew better than to disagree with his bride-to-be, and agreed to go as well. Of course that meant Tilly and the dressmaker working on even more clothes seeing as how Hansel and Gretel were to be the invited guests of royalty.
All in all, the wedding went off without a hitch. Even Jakob and Willheim Grimm's silly book couldn't put a damper on the night's festivities. After talking briefly to her cousins, Gretel pulled Hansel onto the dance floor for their first dance as husband and wife. While walking out there Hansel saw that Teddy was contently sitting on the queen's lap and putting on quite his 'poor me' act for the little princess who was eating it all up with Mia describing his heroic actions in rather exaggerated detail.
As they danced softly to the beautiful melody which was played by the world-renown hooked pianist, Gretel let out a small laugh.
"What's so funny?" inquired Hansel.
"It's just, if somebody told me when I was younger that I would marry a prince in the Coronian palace while wearing a dress fit for a princess I would have laughed at them. Me, a baker's daughter, a princess?"
"Technically, you're not a princess," pointed out Hansel, "disgraced and banished prince, remember? Though if somebody had told me when I was younger that I'd face down an ice queen and evil witch, become a baker and cat lover, I'd have laughed in their face."
Gretel laughed and nodded her head. "Defeating the famous sister definitely would have sounded impossible then. Now, I don't think anything sounds impossible."
"Even a queen who once was a mermaid?" offered Hansel, as he twirled her around on the ballroom floor.
"Even a queen who once was a mermaid," agreed Gretel, beaming up the familiar wide smile he loved so much.
It was in that moment on the dance floor next to his new wife whom he was willing to die for (and almost did), and surrounded by his adoptive family and friends, Hansel realized something.
He had been right all along, Hans' life wasn't a fairy tale. But Hansel's and Gretel's was.
I'd like to thank the Animanga Girl, Crystalsnowfury, CrystallineDragonDemoness, Lt. Basil, XXPay4XtraShippingsXX, Kelly Starr, MySoapBox, inujisan, Erik S, MillionDollarNinja, ModernSonic, heyimfrozen, SnowQueen319, and luvmoony89. I'd also like to thank all those who have ever reviewed, followed, favorited, or read each chapter. This story has been one of my most favorited, most followed, most reviewed, and most read stories ever- something that I never thought would ever happen when I started, so thank you all.
I've been waiting for the Brother's Grimm reveal since the very first chapter. For some reason the idea that the Disney version of fairy tales being true in this universe and the Grimm's being false amuses me greatly. I even changed their names a little, Jacob to Jakob, and calling Willheim Will to save the surprise. Also, the beginning is supposedly their version of Hansel and Gretel, which was taken from Wiki, so it could be wrong. If so, I apologize. I had the last line planned since I started, hence the 'Hans' life wasn't a fairy tale line' in some of the chapters.
I did toy with the idea of a sequel, but decided against it since I felt that story would not be as good as this one. If you want to read more Disney from me, I do have a Wreck-it-Ralph one-shot featuring Surge, a Tangled one-shot which gives Mother Gothel a different backstory than the one featured here, a story of the Disney princesses meeting Merida, Elsa and Anna, and a multi-chaptered story which is my take on the whole, 'girl gets trapped in the Disneyverse and has to save it' cliche. I've put that story on hold to write this one, but I can now finally go back to it. If you're interested in any of those stories, or others by me, go check out my profile.
Thanks for reading, and if possible, please leave a review.